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I work for Toys for Bob / Activision. Posts here are my personal views, and do not necessarily reflect that of my employer. 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Micro R/C Hobby

Christmas is almost here, so I thought I'd list off some recommendations of really sweet r/c models that I have personal experience with. These are not cheap r/c toys that you'd find at target or toys r us, but are more hobby level r/c vehicles, and are much higher quality made. The difference isn't only quality and construction, but you can literally buy spare parts and replace every single piece. Cheaper r/c toys are often so cheaply made, that if something breaks or burn out, you can't find replacement parts, or the construction is such that it is not really meant to be taken apart. The higher end r/c models makes it easy to modify, hack, and improve. Spares can be found easily online, your local hobby shop are likely to have them in stock. There are also lots of forums out there to get tips, mods, and hop-ups.... and to ask stupid questions :)

So here are my suggestions for some r/c fun, most of these are mini or micro sized, as recent technology has brought everything small and light enough to play around in your living room. I have now pretty much given up on larger r/c models:


Eflite Blade MCX -indoor only coaxial helicopter. Very easy to fly, coaxial makes it pretty much self stabilizing. The gyro does drift a bit, but still very easy to fly around a small room. 4 channels for full control, comes in BNF (Bind and Fly) or RTF(Ready to Fly)

Parkzone Vapor - indoor 3 channel plane. Very easy to fly, maneuverable in small areas. i've hacked mine to become a biplane to make it even slower. Comes in BNF (Bind and Fly) or RTF(Ready to Fly)

Losi Micro Rock Crawler - 1/24 scale rock crawler. I just got one of these, great fun for indoor crawling. These are pretty new, and apparently many of the first batch has some issues with the tranny gear being slightly warped. I did have one of these, and it caused the motor to get pretty hot. However, I would still recommend it, as the fix is pretty simple, sanding the center tranny cover down a bit..... and it is always fun to take apart stuff to to see how it works, and to fix :) Comes in BND (Bind and Drive) or RTR(Ready to run)

Losi Mini Rock Crawler - A bit larger than the micro (1/18 scale), great for couch crawling. Comes in RTR.

Rovio - awesome little robot cam that you can drive over the internet via a browser & home wifi. There is also a free iPhone app that lets you drive it around via tilt, and you can see through the cam. Works great with wifi, but a bit too slow on 3G. here is my detailed review on Trossen Robotics

Intermediate / Advanced R/C

Parkzone Ultra-Micro Sukhoi- Currently my favorite r/c airplane, it is tiny and quick. It can do almost everything I can throw at it (which isn't much, but great loops, rolls etc), but doesn't really like to knife edge or hover. Made of foam and is nearly indestructible. Full function 4 Channels, and comes in BNF (bind and fly)

Eflite Blade MSR - Cool fixed pitch heli. Very easy to fly for a single rotor heli, but is much harder to fly than a coaxial. It is tame compared to a control pitch heli, but rather twitchy and unstable if you were to compare it to a mcx. It is much easier to fly, and much better than the Walkera 4#3b fixed pitch heli. Great for zipping around indoors, but can't handle much of a breeze outside.

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